November 30, 2011

DIY Morse Code Necklace

I'm fascinated by codes. When we were younger (who am I kidding, we still use it) my friends and I spoke in our own word game, I practiced writing Da Vinci-style to confuse snooping sisters, and I love the military phonetic alphabet (like Echo Romeo India November). So, when I saw these Morse code necklaces by COATT from Anthropologie, I thought they would be a simple to make gift for my close friends and family with a secret surprise. More after the jump!

(images from Anthropologie)

The one pictured above says "friend." I tried to decode it and got really frustrated, and almost wrote an angry e-mail to Anthropologie then I realized it's photographed backward. Whoops.

Invented by artist Samuel Morse with scientists Joseph Henry and Alfred Vail in 1836, the code was used for sending messages through electronic pulses on the electrical telegraph system they created. Vail used the frequency of certain letters in words to determine the number of dots or dashes for a given letter. Can you imagine trying to create a whole sentence with only those dots and dashes? And we think only 140 characters for a tweet is bad!

Anyway, this is so simple to make into a necklace or bracelet, with things you already have or can swipe from a coffee shop.

Tools and Materials:
Thin colored cord, string, or ribbon
Round metallic beads
Matching tube beads OR coffee stirrers spray painted and cut to almost an inch long.
Decoder chart of Morse code

Use the decoder to come up with a pattern for beading based on a word of your choice. My name, for example, is ./._./../_. (with the slashes to designate a new letter for reading convenience). Using the round beads to represent the dots and tube beads for the dashes, string them onto your cord following the pattern. Longer words, or those with more dashes, might make a better necklace than bracelet.

I tied knots in between letters to distinguish them apart. Can you read what I spelled out on this bracelet? 

Simple and heartfelt, these would make the perfect present to carry a secret message.


  1. Anonymous8:44 AM

    OMG love this idea! want to try now!

  2. Wow this is so cute! I need to try it! Did you use coffee stirrers or beads? :)

  3. Genius Idea! I need one!

  4. Super clever! I love this idea.

  5. erin ~ i LOVE this!! and how cute is the morse code theme? you're going to need to tell me what you spelled though, i'm new at this haha! ;)
    xx ~ k
    p.s. great job!!

  6. @Eva- I used beads leftover from a botched project, but I've made my own beads using coffee stirrers and spray paint!
    @Kristina- it says TIMI! ; )

  7. so minimalistic and cute!



  8. So awesome Erin!! What a great idea. I absolutely love your blog and all your DIY projects. Very cool!

  9. Love the Morse Code Necklaces - I believe they are by COATT and her stuff is amazing! Your interpretation is fab!

  10. What a delightful twist on name or word necklaces! I will definitely feature and link back so others can come visit! Pearl

  11. Oh, I totally love this! Great job.

  12. Maria5:01 PM

    I absolutely LOVE the Morse code necklace I made!
    If it wasn't for your blog, I wouldn't have even known about the Morse code necklace.

    Thanks so much!

  13. Loved these! What a great idea!


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